Everybody gets an award these days!

Most of us have seen the email floating around for the “Stella Awards,” named for Stella Leibeck, the 79 year old woman who had third degree skin burns and skin grafts in her crotch who had the gall to ask McDonalds to help her with her medical bills.  Though these awards are meant to highlight “frivolous” cases, many are actually fictitious or trumped up.

You really are a winner.

Now come the Hazelwood Awards, so named for Capt.. Hazelwood of Exxon Valdez fame.  These awards highlight corporate greed and malfeasance.  This year’s winner is the hospital in Florida that performed unnecessary surgeries in order to bill for them.

What does this mean to you:

Corporations and insurance companies often put profits before people, notwithstanding what their slick commercials and handsome spokesmen would have us believe.

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It can wait

 

As noted earlier this year, April is Distracted Driving Awareness month.  Since then, though, the number of deaths from texting while driving just in Ohio – not to mention nationwide – continues to rise.

At least she’s got one hand on the wheel…

There is a new resource available at EndDD.org.  It shares the real-world story of Casey Feldman who was struck and killed by a texting driver as she crossed the street.  EndDD.org also has a checklist of pledges, which can be especially helpful for teenage drivers.

What does this mean to you:

Ohio’s texting while driving ban went into effect at the beginning of September.  Not only is it now against the law, its just dangerous.  Put down the cell phone while driving.  Nothing is that important.  It can wait.

 

Think inside the (jury) box

 

While not all jury deliberations are watched by hordes of people in underground bunkers with wiretapping equipment and video monitors like those in movie The Runaway Jury, they are serious nonetheless – and meant to be secret.  But in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, jurors posts or internet research about a case can have dire consequences.

I cannot believe it. An iPhone 4?!?

Judges around the country are concerned.  In one case, a juror’s Tweets may have even let a murder off of death row.  Some states have outlawed the practice.  There are proposals online for jury instructions to help steer jurors in the right direction.

What does this mean to you:

Our civil justice system depends on fair and impartial jurors deciding cases based on the facts presented.  Trial lawyers should keep abreast of these constantly evolving technologies to best represent their clients.